It has been a while since I have sat down and thought about writing something for Project Wednesday, however in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting I felt the need to write. Writing about things like the senseless loss of life seemed obvious. But more importantly I wanted to take a step back and think about those who survived. More importantly, I want to speak about those everyday people who became to heroes to those injured and afraid around them. These people, who I am pretty sure were also terrified, changed the lives of those around them, whether it was driving people who were injured to the hospital, or using themselves as barricades from the chaos. Too often the media focuses mainly on the motive and the alleged attacker, but I am happy to see that more recently in the wake of tragedy, the media is sharing the stories of these ultimate do-gooders, the life-savers. It is awful and unimaginable what these people went through, however, it shows the endurance of life when you think about how complete strangers came together to protect and help each other, and that is honestly what I want to talk about in this post. How being human is about the interaction we can have with other humans, and how positive this experience can be.
How many times are you so exhausted, that you don’t even look at the people around you while you walk down the street? Sometimes we get so consumed in our lives and our problems that we forget that there are people around us. Just the other day, a Professor at Temple was handing out dollar bills to students who were NOT on their phones. He didn’t hand out much money, and I think that speaks volumes of how little we interact as a result of the constant technology and constant deadlines and daily stress of life. It is sad that often I catch myself wishing it was 10 years ago, so I didn’t get constant emails and texts about work in the palm of my hand. Don’t get me wrong technology has helped in a lot of ways, however, sometimes I think about how it has disconnected us emotionally from the daily interaction that is life.
For example, I went to a doctor’s office for an appointment the other day, and I met the sweetest old woman. We shared our hatred of the depressing magazines about diseases that flooded the lobby of the practice. We shared our stories about being suffers of inflammatory bowel disease, and even wished each other well going to our separate rooms. Going to the doctor is never a pleasant experience; however this interaction was made possible because I was not buried in my phone avoiding people, and honestly it made the appointment and day more pleasant. It made me realize, sometimes it’s better to have a conversation and share part of your day with a stranger, rather than scrolling through your phone.
I challenge you to attempt to connect with a stranger, someone who looks friendly (I know, sometimes people don’t want to be bothered and aren’t open to connecting to strangers). I really believe that we need to start truly enjoying the human experience. If you don’t like talking to strangers, go meet a friend for coffee or lunch and DO NOT use your phone at all. Leave it in your pocket or bag, and just sit and enjoy the company of another person. Let your senses take in the human experience and enjoy that connection for a moment.
Those who tragically have lost their lives in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting were attempting to enjoy the experience of life. Strangers united as human beings to survive and help, and sometimes I think we all need a reminder to take every day as a new, human experience, a journey. When a tragedy occurs, we tend to rethink how we live our daily lives, but what if you made this conscious effort every day to live the human experience? I don’t believe that it would make something like this easier to understand or desensitize us to catastrophes, but I do believe that if we lived everyday connecting to others around us, we could find new relationships and friends, learn new things, and experience everything that life truly has to offer.